#244 UN 13517

Range › Sawatch Range
Quadrangle › Winfield
Summit Location › Peak Route Icon N 38° 55' 41.40", W 106° 25' 17.44" (Not Field Checked)
Neighboring Peaks › Peak Icon "Pear Peak"

Peak Summary

With higher clearance 4WD, a nice half day hike in the heart of the Sawatch that goes at Class 2+ with a little route finding skill.

UN13,517 Clohesy Lake/North Ridge Route

Class 2+
Medium Day // Take a Lunch
RT From Clear Creek/Winfield/Apostles: 5.5 mi / 3,000'
  • Trailhead
    • Clear Creek/Winfield/Apostles Trailhead

      From Leadville, drive south a little over 19 miles on HWY 24 to the turnoff for Clear Creek Reservoir (CR390) and head west. The turn is less than 2 miles south of "Granite." From Buena Vista, drive north just under 15 miles to the same turnoff. Drive west on graded dirt road 11.7 miles to Winfield. As the road approaches Winfield, it will become a little more narrow and likely to have some potholes. Because of heavy use, this road is often washboarded badly. At Winfield, turn south and cross the creek and continue south, then SW on CR390.2B. About 100 yards after crossing the creek, passenger cars may want to park because the road greatly deteriorates beyond there. For higher clearance vehicles, it's about 2.25 miles to the end of the road and some limited parking.

      If using this general trailhead description for access to peaks up the Lake Fork of Clear Creek (Clohesy Lake), then do not drive all the way to Winfield. Instead, you'll need to turn left at 9.8 miles in from US24 and drive down through the few cabins that comprise "Rockdale," ford Clear Creek and drive to the Clohesy Lake trailhead with a starting elevation of 10,900 ft. 4WD required for this access, otherwise, walk it and enjoy the frigid and sometimes dangerous crossing of Clear Creek.


      Camping

      For the access to Huron and the Apostles, best camping opportunities are along the final two miles to the trailhead from Winfield. There are several at-large spots available. Camping before Winfield can be difficult because of private property and the large number of people coming to climb Belford, Oxford and Missouri.

      If heading up the Lake Fork toward Clohesy Lake, there is at-large camping at the trailhead which is at a large, open meadow area that's relatively flat. Coordinates are: N 38° 57' 15.48" W 106° 24' 32.64"

    Peak Icon Route

    Route Info UN13,517 Clohesy Lake/North Ridge

    Route Description

    Year Climbed: 2001

    From the end of FR381, which is about four tenths of a mile north of Clohesy Lake, follow the designated trail south that skirts the lake and private property and gains nearly 200 vertical feet. At the high point on this trail above the lake, another trail splits off for Missouri Mtn. Continue past that and lose elevation back down to near creek level as you continue south about another .7 mile. Keep an eye on the west slopes above the Lake Fork Creek. There are three prominent avalanche gullies. The first is the widest. The next two have intermittent streams. At the second chute, cross the Lake Fork and head up the gully. These coordinates may help: N 38° 56' 09.89"  W 106° 24' 21.82"\

    Once your heading up this fairly narrow chute, the best way to avoid the numerous willows is to hike on the south side, just inside the edge of the forest. We found numerous game trails to assist. After about 1,000 feet of gain, you'll break out of the trees and find yourself just north of elevation marker 12,264. Continue up the beautiful valley of lush tundra with a rivulet running through it and boulders. Continue hiking WSW in ever increasing boulders, aiming for the saddle between UN13,517 and unranked 13,472. From below, this may begin to look like madness as you begin to see the rugged section of cliffs and rocks below that saddle. When you arrive at the foot of the cliffs below the saddle, with some careful route finding, you can find a way up utilizing various ledges that should not exceed Class 3. For us, the route never got any worse than a hard Class 2+.

    At the base of the cliffs, turn left and look for an upward sloping ledge that you can follow for a ways before it terminates and then follow a system of additional ledges that generally head toward the summit of UN13,517 as you work your way up and through the cliffs. After a while, the ledge system plays out and you'll have a choice. Either head directly for the saddle or contour over to a shallow gully (left). We chose the gully partly because the mountain goats seemed to prefer that route. (It should be noted, it's not always wise to follow mountain goat tracks - they climb things we wouldn't do without a rope and protection!) Once in this gully, it became just steep hiking which eventually brought us out on a ridge about 50 yards east of the summit. Stumble on up to the top over plenty of rocks. If you will examine a Google Earth image of this side of the peak closely, you can see more than one gully that tends south toward the east ridge of the peak. For your descent, return by the same route or....

    Bonus Points: You may want to include the unranked summit to the north of 13,472 ft. This summit may only be about 10 feet short of qualifying as a ranked 13er, because the saddle elevation is interpolated and not actually measured. It may be possible to reach it by following the connecting ridge from UN13,517 north, but we thought it looked rather daunting and difficult, so we descended off UN13,517 as we had come up, back to the bottom of the cliffs. Then you can contour north over large boulders below a prominent, protruding ridge at the 12,600 ft. level and then swing back to the NW. After a little more boulder hopping, you'll reach firmer ground as you gain back about 800 feet of elevation on a mostly tundra slope. Aim for the far north end of the summit ridge where it splits. The higher up you go, the less stable things will become, but it should not exceed Class 2+. As you near the summit ridge, a small ramp to the left (west) will lead up to a notch in the ridge. Complete your ascent by following the rocky ridge to the high point.

    More bonus points: It is easily possible to continue north from this summit all the way to Huron. Just follow the connecting ridge. If you do climb unranked 13,472, there are two possible descent routes. One would be to return as you ascended. The other possibility is to hike north from the summit as though heading for Huron. When you reach the low point between the two summits at 13,060, you can drop NNE into the basin that holds Lois Lake. The descent will start out on steep talus that eventually turns to steep tundra. After losing 700 feet, you'll enter an extensive boulder field of very large rocks. Work your way over to Lois Lake then pick up a trail that first leads NNE and then switchbacks down an avalanche gully that terminates at the outlet for Clohesy Lake. Ford the stream and follow a trail that avoids the private property and takes you back to the trailhead. This descent route is described by Gerry Roach as a possible ascent route for Huron Peak in his 14er guide book.

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